Archive for May, 2016

tsiang - hers

Our baby drinks and drinks from me.
I weep because she doesn’t know yet
that I’m an empty cup.

When I walk by the river the water
sinks to its knees, the air laps up the last of it and
Fish gasp in the riverbeds.

At home you pass me and I am dust,
falling lightly on everything around you.
You don’t even notice

that you kick a tumbleweed
as you head to bed. Our mattress is made
of the bones of the drowned, they crack,

empty of marrow, as you turn away from
me. Water, water everywhere

and not a goddamn drop to drink.



Sarah Yi Mei Tsiang  is the author of 8 books, including picture books, poetry, and fiction. Her award winning work has been internationally sold and translated. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Sheridan College.


**(“fuckin’ kiss me” photo, by Sarah Tsiang)



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griebel“wild purslane with its bitter taste of lemon and tenacity”



“Forgotten, soiled but useable still. That is what I am to you if will take the time to see me.”


Journalist, feminist, novelist, activist, teacher, Susan Swan’s  impact on the Canadian literary and political scene has been far-reaching.  Her critically acclaimed fiction has been published in sixteen countries. Swan’s last novel, The Western Light, (2012) shares a narrator with her international bestseller, The Wives of Bath. (The Western Light was a finalist for the best fiction and non-fiction award by the Ontario Library Association. It is currently being made into a feature by Lauren Grant at Clique Pictures. Hannah Cheeseman is writing the screenplay.)



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tsiang - hers“When I walk by the river the water the sinks to its knees”



The lights blink out, one by one,
A synapse here, a word, a name,

Breakers blow, her screen goes blank.
Keys, long-lost, long-loved,
from fingers unresisting.
Jingling on a ring
around a rosey-toesie child.

Sparks alight.
Electric moth holes eat the sky,
Disconnect the dot-to-dot
of thought.
Corrupt the code.
Conduct, unbecoming.

We all fall down.
Control room out.

Heather M. O’Connor  would be lost without words. She writes nonfiction about greening our planet and fiction for challenged readers, as well as a mixed bag of other topics and genres. Betting Game, her teen soccer novel, was published last year by Orca. You can find her on Facebook, at or at



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swan“This is what I am…”


The last meal we ever ate together was ice cream. I remember because she had been chewing Clorets to hide the vodka and then we spooned the high-fat French Vanilla into our mouths. And when they finally left us alone for a minute, we kissed. I was 21 and she was 46 and we didn’t mind. It goes without saying the sex was often amazing. To this day I remember that she hated her middle name and I can still picture the permanent curl of her baby finger which her brother had slammed in a door at a cottage near Perth. I never met her brother or any other member of her family but I was there when they told her they’d have to amputate her leg. I was there when she looked out the hospital window and said, “Well, that’s the end of my Morris dancing, then.” And then she sobbed out a laugh that made the nurse turn away. “Poor you,” she said to me. “Here for the bitter old end.” She fished a key from her purse and sent me to her fourth-floor apartment on Avenue Road. Take whatever you like before the sharks smell the blood in the bathwater. I had wanted to save our ice cream feast for after the operation. An enticement to survival. French Vanilla where the lame gift of my young love did no apparent good. It felt like bad luck that she wanted it before going into surgery. And it was the first time I had ever seen a refusal to fight in a woman’s eyes. We ate from the same small paper bucket and then they wheeled her backwards away from me, back through the double doors. I sat for three hours in the waiting room with the plastic ice cream spoon parked between my teeth, hunting for traces with my tongue. Please change your mind. Waited and put off going out into the barking cold afternoon storm. No one would come get me to tell me she was gone. It was before they had to acknowledge that the last person who kissed your mouth might be family. It took me seven hours to get all the empty bottles out of her apartment but I wanted them to feel how wrong they had been to never once return her calls.


Marnie Woodrow  is the author of the novels Heyday and Spelling Mississippi. She is a full time freelance editor in Hamilton, ON.


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o'connor“Electric moth holes eat the sky,”




Laura Smith’s distinct singing voice has been a mainstay of Canadian music for many decades now. Growing up in southern Ontario, she made the bold move to Cape Breton in the mid-80s where she found a vibrant music scene and the ability to artistically grow. She has remained in Nova Scotia ever since and continues to hone her craft of songwriting.

Personal accolades include two Juno nominations, a Gemini award, two East Coast Music Awards and an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Mount Saint Vincent University.  She is probably most well-known for “My Bonny,” her unique interpretation of the Scottish song “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”.”

She can be found at and concert dates here.





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woodrow“It goes without saying the sex was often amazing.”







red cloth torn along the seam
frayed edged square
draped over palm
a pinch of tobacco
offered up
to the sky first
in thanks
then dropped to cloth
dusky yellow against
the red
pressed in
folded around
and finally tied
with gratitude

yellow dough cut out
into a perfect square
floured with delicate
pinched together
in a curve

red ink on small
cuts of white
paper pushed
through the cooled seam
tiny words
of fortune
best wishes
unsolicited advice

this is how I understand it
the parallels of colour
and intention
but fortune cookies
are not ceremony
they were just a product
to make Asian culture
palatable to American

made either in Los Angeles by a Chinese immigrant
or in San Francisco by a Japanese citizen
fortune cookies accompanied
the Westernized food
and other refined stereotypes
they are really more akin to
brown dolls
with fringe jackets
beaded headbands
and Made in China stamps
in the plastic
more similar than
my tobacco ties
and prayers

I never knew the real story of fortune cookies
as a child I read them with reverence
tiny truths holding wide wisdoms
I would one day understand
trying to take it in
to know it

this is the sort of prayer I make now
as I tie my tobacco ties
only it works outward
I press it in
and send it out

red cloth torn along seam
frayed edged square
draped over palm
a pinch of tobacco
offered up to the sky first
in thanks

Katherena Vermette  is a Metis writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her first book, North End Love Songs (The Muses’ Company) won the 2013 Governor General Literary Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared several literary magazine and anthologies. Her recent projects include a novel, The Break (House of Anansi) and a short documentary, this river (National Film Board of Canada).


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smith“Broken can no longer be described”